Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Getting Color Right

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True Color
Daylight, Indoor Light, White Balance

Online sellers are rightly sensitive to have their photos reflect the true colors of their items. They don't want customer returns! If a customer buys a set of red earrings to match a certain outfit, she certainly doesn't want to receive purple earrings, so getting the color right is important.
Cameras interpret natural daylight differently than they interpret various types of artificial indoor lighting, and as a result, colors can be distorted.
To correct these distortions, your camera has a white balance setting which is usually signified as "WB" or "AWB" on the menu. The default setting is usually AWB, which stands for Automatic White Balance.
In this first example, I shot a dime using indoor lighting. The only setting which accurately represents the true color of the dime is the "indoor" setting.

In the next example, I shot the dime using natural daylight. AWB, sunny and cloudy all rendered the correct color but the indoor setting rendered a blue tint. Also, notice how much better the white cloth under the dime looks in natural daylight.
I am an ardent proponent of diffuse natural daylight for photography. Not only does it help the camera render a more accurate color for the subject, but for the surroundings as well.

The results with your camera and light sources may vary of course, but the tutorial teaches you to experiment with your camera and lighting to obtain correct colors.
If changing the white balance setting does not give you the true color of your item, then change the color of your background. You will be amazed at how different color backgrounds cause your camera to change the color of your item.
Some cameras have built-in color options, and these can cause color cast, so go thru your menu structure to see if you have such an option and then select the option which provides the truest color.
If white balance and background changes don't work, then make changes to the hue and saturation levels in photo editing software.

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